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Dooner, HK, He L.  2014.  Polarized gene conversion at the bz locus of maize.. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 111(38):13918-23. Abstract
Nucleotide diversity is greater in maize than in most organisms studied to date, so allelic pairs in a hybrid tend to be highly polymorphic. Most recombination events between such pairs of maize polymorphic alleles are crossovers. However, intragenic recombination events not associated with flanking marker exchange, corresponding to noncrossover gene conversions, predominate between alleles derived from the same progenitor. In these dimorphic heterozygotes, the two alleles differ only at the two mutant sites between which recombination is being measured. To investigate whether gene conversion at the bz locus is polarized, two large diallel crossing matrices involving mutant sites spread across the bz gene were performed and more than 2,500 intragenic recombinants were scored. In both diallels, around 90% of recombinants could be accounted for by gene conversion. Furthermore, conversion exhibited a striking polarity, with sites located within 150 bp of the start and stop codons converting more frequently than sites located in the middle of the gene. The implications of these findings are discussed with reference to recent data from genome-wide studies in other plants.
Hawkins, JS, Delgado V, Feng L, Carlise M, Dooner HK, Bennetzen JL.  2014.  Variation in allelic expression associated with a recombination hotspot in Zea mays.. The Plant Journal, DOI: 10.1111/tpj.12537. Abstract
Gene expression is a complex process, requiring precise spatial and temporal regulation of transcription factor activity; however, modifications of individual cis- and trans-acting modules can be molded by natural selection to create a sizeable number of novel phenotypes. Results from decades of research indicate that developmental and phenotypic divergence among eukaryotic organisms is driven primarily by variation in levels of gene expression that are dictated by mutations either in structural or regulatory regions of genes. The relative contributions and interplay of cis- and trans-acting regulatory factors to this evolutionary process, however, remain poorly understood. Analysis of 8 genes in the Bz1-Sh1 interval of maize indicates significant allele-specific expression biases in at least one tissue for all genes, ranging from 1.3-fold to 36-fold. All detected effects were cis-regulatory in nature, although genetic background may also influence the level of expression bias and tissue specificity for some allelic combinations. Most allelic pairs exhibited the same direction and approximate intensity of bias across all four tissues; however, a subset of allelic pairs show alternating dominance across different tissue types or variation in the degree of bias in different tissues. In addition, the genes showing the most striking levels of allelic bias co-localize with a previously described recombination hotspot in this region, suggesting a naturally occurring genetic mechanism for creating regulatory variability for a subset of plant genes that may ultimately lead to evolutionary diversification.
Li, Y, Harris L, Dooner HK.  2013.  TED, an autonomous and rare maize transposon of the mutator superfamily with a high gametophytic excision frequency.. The Plant cell. 25(9):3251-65. Abstract
Mutator (Mu) elements, one of the most diverse superfamilies of DNA transposons, are found in all eukaryotic kingdoms, but are particularly numerous in plants. Most of the present knowledge on the transposition behavior of this superfamily comes from studies of the maize (Zea mays) Mu elements, whose transposition is mediated by the autonomous Mutator-Don Robertson (MuDR) element. Here, we describe the maize element TED (for Transposon Ellen Dempsey), an autonomous cousin that differs significantly from MuDR. Element excision and reinsertion appear to require both proteins encoded by MuDR, but only the single protein encoded by TED. Germinal excisions, rare with MuDR, are common with TED, but arise in one of the mitotic divisions of the gametophyte, rather than at meiosis. Instead, transposition-deficient elements arise at meiosis, suggesting that the double-strand breaks produced by element excision are repaired differently in mitosis and meiosis. Unlike MuDR, TED is a very low-copy transposon whose number and activity do not undergo dramatic changes upon inbreeding or outcrossing. Like MuDR, TED transposes mostly to unlinked sites and can form circular transposition products. Sequences closer to TED than to MuDR were detected only in the grasses, suggesting a rather recent evolutionary split from a common ancestor.
Xiong, W, He L, Li Y, Dooner HK, Du C.  2013.  InsertionMapper: a pipeline tool for the identification of targeted sequences from multidimensional high throughput sequencing data.. BMC genomics. 14:679. Abstract
The advent of next-generation high-throughput technologies has revolutionized whole genome sequencing, yet some experiments require sequencing only of targeted regions of the genome from a very large number of samples. These regions can be amplified by PCR and sequenced by next-generation methods using a multidimensional pooling strategy. However, there is at present no available generalized tool for the computational analysis of target-enriched NGS data from multidimensional pools.
Li, Y., Segal, G., Wang, Q., Dooner HK.  2013.  Gene tagging with engineered Ds elements in maize. Methods in Molecular Biology: Plant Transposable Elements. :83-99.
Dooner, HK, Weil CF.  2013.  Transposons and gene creation. Molecular Genetics and Epigenetics of Plant Transposons. :143-167.
Wang, Q., Dooner HK.  2012.  Dynamic evolution of bz orthologous regions in the Andropogoneae and other grasses.. The Plant journal : for cell and molecular biology. 72(2):212-21. Abstract
Genome structure exhibits remarkable plasticity within Zea mays. To examine how haplotype structure has evolved within the Andropogoneae tribe, we have analyzed the bz gene-rich region of maize (Zea mays), the Zea teosintes mays ssp. mexicana, luxurians and diploperennis, Tripsacum dactyloides, Coix lacryma-jobi and Sorghum propinquum. We sequenced and annotated BAC clones from these species and re-annotated the orthologous Sorghum bicolor region. Gene colinearity in the region is well conserved within the genus Zea. However, the orthologous regions of Coix and Sorghum exhibited several micro-rearrangements relative to Zea, including addition, truncation and deletion of genes. The stc1 gene, involved in the production of a terpenoid insect defense signal, is evolving particularly fast, and its progressive disappearance from some species is occurring by microhomology-mediated recombination. LTR retrotransposons are the main contributors to the dynamic evolution of the bz region. Common transposon insertion sites occur among haplotypes from different Zea mays sub-species, but not outside the species. As in Zea, different patterns of interspersion between genes and retrotransposons are observed in Sorghum. We estimate that the mean divergence times between maize and Tripsacum, Coix and Sorghum are 8.5, 12.1 and 12.4 million years ago, respectively, and that between Coix and Sorghum is 9.3 million years ago. A comparison of the bz orthologous regions of Zea, Sorghum and Coix with those of Brachypodium, Setaria and Oryza allows us to infer how the region has evolved by addition and deletion of genes in the approximately 50 million years since these genera diverged from a common progenitor.
Li, Y., Dooner HK.  2012.  Helitron Proliferation and Gene-Fragment Capture. Topics in Current Genetics, 24: Plant Transposable Elements- Impact on Genome Structure and Function. :193-227.
Miclaus, M, Wu Y, Xu J, Dooner HK, Messing J.  2011.  The maize high-lysine mutant opaque7 is defective in an acyl-CoA synthetase-like protein.. Genetics. 189:1271-1280.